It's that time of the year again. The maddening rush of the holiday season is upon us, and your wallet can sense it. It screams in agony as you swipe your plastic at store after store and empty it even of that last lucky quarter that you'd preserved over the years. You get done with Christmas shopping and realize that it's your turn to host the New Year's Eve party this year. Sigh! You're almost on the verge of a meltdown thinking about the huge bill that the party is going to come with. We're here to tell you that it may not be as bad as you think it is. Yes, we'll tell you, step by step, how you can plan a grand New Year's Eve celebration on a budget and still have a whole lot of fun. Let's get started!
*The first and most obvious thing you need to do is fix a budget. Once that is done, the aspects discussed below will have to fit within it.
This one's a no-brainer really. It's fairly obvious that a party at home with a few select friends/family is going to cost you much lesser than one at a swanky (or even not so swanky) restaurant or club. So, that's that. As mentioned above, to keep the party well within your budget and to ensure that you have a good time, invite only those who you really want at your home on this very special night of the year.
Say a possibly tearful bye-bye to all those dainty/wacky/gorgeous handwritten on wonderful handmade paper New Year's Eve invites that you plastered all across your idea board. Think practically. Printing out a bunch of invites, even though it may be just for a select few, will cost money. Instead, design your own fancy-schmancy invites on any decent photo editing software (which you can download even for free) and send them across via e-mail or the many social media platforms that the Internet has gracefully endowed us with.
It is a party after all. Just because you're on a budget, the décor shouldn't dampen the mood of the evening by being dull or drab. There are many ways you can save on decorations.
✦ Buy stuff that goes on sale after Christmas. It's generally much cheaper.
✦ Instead of going all out, buy a limited number of one type of (inexpensive) flower. Place them in bunches in pretty glasses or vases all around the place.
✦ Print and put up pictures of important events that took place in the entire year. You can limit it to the group visiting for the party or you can have events that happened all around the world.
✦ Get bitten by the DIY bug! Refurbish old stuff to look fabulous and new and use them as décor. Spray paint an old vase, distress a wooden picture frame, or paint a crate and embellish it; there are so many things you can find within your home that will double up as funky décor when restyled.
✦ Save up on electricity throughout the night; buy candles and light them at strategic points to have a warm glow all around. There can't be a better ambiance for a New Year's Eve celebration.
Here's another biggie of the party planning world! The food is the life of any party, and even though it may get sidelined by the entertainment, the fact is that you cannot get truly entertained without having something to munch and nibble on. So, here are our suggestions for you to save on a huge food bill.
✦ Don't order in. Instead, cook a simple meal for your guests at home.
✦ If cooking seems like too much of an ordeal, have a potluck. Ask each of your guests to bring a dish.
✦ Skip the main course. Have just a bunch of appetizers instead.
No New Year's Eve party is complete without drinks. Soft or hard, they're a staple at this party. Here are our ideas on how you can have drinks yet not empty your wallet of its last penny.
✦ Serve only soft drinks. Ask guests to bring their own alcohol. This is one of the most popular and effective ways to save money when hosting a party.
✦ If you want to serve alcohol, buy in bulk way in advance or when alcohol is on sale at a lot of places (just around now possibly).
✦ To avoid overspending and double-stocking, always check your reserves for leftover booze before buying more.
✦ Another idea: keep only one signature alcoholic drink and let the rest be a fruit punch or other soft drinks for a mix and match bar.
✦ Katie Brown, lifestyle guru, says that for planning a New Year's on a budget, rent glassware for a large party instead of buying it.
As far as entertainment goes, there's nothing better than some foot-thumping music to set the mood for the party. So, either ready a fun playlist before the party or ask guests to bring music that they would like to listen to. Either way, you're gonna have a rocking party!